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Kenya The Ultimate Destination

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AFRICA


By Jon D. Gaede

Staff Writer & Photographer


african nights - Pastel painted horizons signal the end of a long summer day.
african nights - Pastel painted horizons signal the end of a long summer day.
There are many reasons to travel and most of us seek a pampered experience whenever we can. Any environment that takes us away from the drudgery of work will do.

In Southern California, we don't have to venture too far to achieve just that. Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, Big Bear, San Francisco, Las Vegas  or a three day cruise from Long Beach can be had on short notice, with minimal planning. Catalina Island sounds adventurous, but how about Kenya?

Kenya, the ultimate East African destination, will require you to open your eyes and your heart. In return, the experience will change your view of the world. I challenge you to consider a fundamental change in the way most Americans seek a vacation and pursue the experience of a lifetime!


"Geoff's knowledge of tribal culture, Swahili and wildlife behavior was invaluable to all"


with style - A Samburu woman dances beneath the bright African sun.
with style - A Samburu woman dances beneath the bright African sun.
In late July, 32 people did just that. Ranging in ages from 12 to 85, we traveled some 12,000 miles from Los Angeles to Nairobi. The group included students, teachers, families, retirees and one veteran of Word War II. We had met five previous times, courtesy of Geoff Sink, legendary Brea-Olinda Basketball coach, adventurer and accomplished photographer. Geoff's knowledge of tribal culture, wildlife behavior and Swahili was invaluable to all.

Our journey would take us to simply the best wildlife game preserves on the African continent including: Amboseli, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, and the Maasi Mara (site of the ‘Great Migration').

There are many ways to experience Africa. Safari is a term used loosely and it can describe a variety of experiences. Some, not so good. Vivien Prince, our African host from "As You Like It Safaris" Ltd." has created a standard for comfort and convenience that was head and shoulders above all others.


"Our Kenyan drivers use safari income in order to send their children to school"


future chief - ”John,” 23, a university educated Samburn warrior adorns a BVN cap.
future chief - ”John,” 23, a university educated Samburn warrior adorns a BVN cap.
We traveled in modified Toyota Landcruisers with pop-top roof configurations for unrestricted observation/photography of all wildlife. Each of our eight vehicles contained four guests and one Kenyan driver. Our drivers were genuine good souls who earn safari income to send their children to school.

On the first evening, after dinner, we gathered small gifts, hats, sports jerseys, sox etc....The items were placed in a pile and by tradition, divvied up by Kenyan driver seniority. The guides then introduced themselves by name and by tribal affiliation. Kenyans are extremely proud of their  tribal lineage. All drivers/guides possess comprehensive knowledge of wildlife and  terrain. Some have earned college degrees in the animal sciences.

In pursuit of wildlife, we would embark from our lodge about 7 am and follow various animals for about four hours. We returned for lunch and mid day rest, then continued to pursue and observe animals from 3 pm to 7 pm in the afternoon. We had a routine evening meeting/debriefing, meal and local entertainment. For 20 days, this was the daily rhythm of our safari.

the highlands - The young Kenyans are eager to greet visitors who journey through their hilltop farming villages.
the highlands - The young Kenyans are eager to greet visitors who journey through their hilltop farming villages.
Each ‘game drive' or session is different than the one before. Animal behavior is random, so anything can happen, at any time. Amboseli is known for its quantity of elephant herds and we were not disappointed. One large herd of about 40, slowly approached, surrounded and passed by our vehicle, on the way to their morning water hole. Our drivers put us where the action was and photographic opportunities were abundant.

Whether you are using a digital camera, video taping or simply observing with binoculars, Africa will remind you that key action can happen at any time. Aggressive predatory animals may be stalking their prey as you drive upon them. Our drivers were experts at establishing a side view or flanking position for maximum observation and great pictures!

masai mara - Young Masai warriors demonstrate their leaping ability while others rhythmically chant.
masai mara - Young Masai warriors demonstrate their leaping ability while others rhythmically chant.
Our twenty-two day journey spanned the width of Kenya and on one afternoon our vehicles caravanned through the beauty and grandeur of five ecosystems. We descended 8,400 feet to the base of the Northern frontier. These roads led to Ethiopia, Somalia and Samburu. The images are beyond description, you simply must come to Africa.

Opportunity to purchase curios (hand made items) are numerous and most of us chose to spend our dollars in the traditional tribal villages of the Maasi and Samburu. Special arrangements are made in order to visit the villages. Upon approach, we were greeted by a representative of the tribe and asked to dismount our vehicles. In the Samburu village, the women, adorned in tribal blue, sang to us as they methodically shuffled down a path.

serenity - The lush green tree tops define the beauty of “The Great Rift Valley.”
serenity - The lush green tree tops define the beauty of “The Great Rift Valley.”
We were then greeted  by "John" an articulate university educated 23 year old. John explained the dynamics of cooperation in tribal life and why he has returned to become a future leader of his people. We split into small groups, spent time in their huts and then purchased various jewelry, spears, talking sticks etc.....from the Samburu women.

The Maasi people come from land that includes Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Today, they are farmers, cattle herders and professionals. Many villages lie below Mt. Kilimanjaro. They live a shared existence and value the raising of children and ownership of cattle to be central to their way of life.


‘In 1890, a European disease wiped out over 90% of the Maasi cattle"


rhythms of color - Elegant beadwork adorns the heads and shoulders of the Samburu women.
rhythms of color - Elegant beadwork adorns the heads and shoulders of the Samburu women.
In the Maasi Mara we visited a thriving Maasi village. It is believed that the Maasi migrated, along with their Samburu cousins from the Nile river, in the 15th century. They live in modest low level huts. The Maasi believe that all cows on earth belong to the Maasi. A young warrior is expected to participate in a lion kill, however, the practice is being discouraged.

The Maasi who wear traditional red, are great trackers and herders. Unfortunately, in 1890, a European disease decimated much of the great herds they once had. Today, they struggle to keep their traditional way of life. They are also unusually good leapers. Several of the young warriors leaped for us in a traditional "adumu" or jumping dance. One can't help but notice how physically fit the Maasi are in person. Most are lean and tall. They are the beautiful people.

Some of the youth from our group played soccer with the Maasi children. Most are very good at soccer. Their village ball consisted of sponges wrapped in tape. We gave them our ball to keep. In Kenya, the people are thankful for anything, so lighten your bags and enjoy the feeling of giving.


"Some 15,000 wildebeast  crossed the Mara River for 45 minutes"                                                                                                                                                      

a leopards glare - Rising from a tree top nap, this leopard looks for its next meal.
a leopards glare - Rising from a tree top nap, this leopard looks for its next meal.
During the months of July and August, the great herds cross the Mara River from Tanzania, by the hundreds of thousands. It is simply one of the greatest events to experience in anyone's lifetime. In great numbers they cross, initially, one lone wildebeast, followed by some 15,000 for 45 minutes! Crocodiles and hippos take the weak, but most make it to the other side of the river and the cycle of life goes on.

In the Mara region, there are many lions. One of the great prides in number, the Bila Shaka Pride, had grown to over 40 in strength. Unfortunately, some of the rogue juvenile males killed the alpha male and the result was two smaller prides. Our guides updated group members on pride dynamics. The lion pride behavior was magnificent to photograph and was a favorite among the group.

sparring partners - Two juvenile lions grab each other in simulated fighting.
sparring partners - Two juvenile lions grab each other in simulated fighting.
We concluded our journey with a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Trust. The orphanage supports baby elephants whose mothers have been brutally killed for their valuable ivory tusks. Elephants form close-knit lifetime bonds from birth and can live as long as some human beings. Some group members adopted their own baby elephant for a small annual fee. website: rc-h@africaonline.co.ke

From Amboseli to the Maasi Mara our journey must come to an end. For the people we met and the pastel Kenyan sunsets we say (asante sana), thank you. We were pleased to be there with you. (Nimie furuhai kua pamoja nawewe).

We thank Vivien Prince for hosting her "As You Like It Safari .com" in her wonderful country. We thank Geoff Sink for his passion and expertise. We hope to see one more bird, one more magnificent lion, meet one more person and see one more sunset. Bless you and goodbye (Heri zote safari njema kwaheri)

Community reminder - On October 14th, Inland Christian Church in Colton will host its annual Harambe. Dinner and silent auction will be followed by traditional African crafts and art for display and sale. All funds raised will support Kenyan missionary work and the African Bible School, Harvest Field. If you have any questions about East African safaris, please ask for me at the Harambe. For more information call (909) 825-7572 or email AlaskaKD@adelphia.net.

Kenya – The Ultimate Destination

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The journey that is sure to embrace your heart and change your mind


AFRICA


By Jon D. Gaede

Staff Writer


There are many reasons to travel and most of us seek a pampered experience whenever we can. Any environment that takes us away the drudgery of work will do.

In Southern California, we don't have to venture too far to achieve just that. Palm Springs, Laguna Beach, Big Bear, San Francisco, Las Vegas  or a three day cruise from Long Beach can be had on short notice, with minimal planning. Catalina Island sounds adventurous, but how about Kenya?

Kenya, the ultimate East African destination will require you open your eyes and your heart. In return, the experience will change your view of the world. I challenge you to consider a fundamental change to the way most Americans seek a vacation and pursue the experience of a lifetime!


"Geoff's knowledge of tribal culture, Swahili and wildlife behavior was invaluable to all"


In late July, 32 people did just that. Ranging in ages from 12 to 85, we traveled some 12,000 miles from Los Angeles to Nairobi. The group included students, teachers, families, retirees and one veteran of Word War II. We had met five previous times, courtesy of Geoff Sink, legendary Brea-Olinda Basketball coach, adventurer and accomplished photographer. Geoff's knowledge of tribal culture, wildlife behavior and Swahili was invaluable to all.

Our journey would take us to simply the best wildlife game preserves on the African continent to include: Amboseli, Samburu, Lake Nakuru, and the Maasi Mara (site of the ‘Great Migration')

There are many ways to experience Africa. Safari is a term used loosely and it can describe a variety of experiences. Some, not so good. Vivien Prince, our African host from "As You Like It Safaris" Ltd." has created a standard for comfort and convenience that was head and shoulders above all others.


"Our Kenyan drivers use safari income in order to send their children to school"


We traveled in modified Toyota Landcruisers with pop-top roof configurations for unrestricted observation/photography of all wildlife. Each of our eight vehicles contained four guests and one Kenyan driver. Our drivers were genuine good souls who earn safari income to send their children to school.

On the first evening, after dinner, we gathered small gifts, hats, sports jerseys, sox etc....The items were placed in a pile and by tradition, divvied up by Kenyan driver seniority. The guides then introduced themselves by name and by tribal affiliation. Kenyans are extremely proud of their  tribal lineage. All drivers/guides possess comprehensive knowledge of  wildlife and  terrain. Some have earned college degrees in the animal sciences.

In pursuit of wildlife, we would embarked from our lodge about 7 am and followed various animals for about four hours. We returned for lunch and mid day rest, then continued to pursue and observe animals from 3 pm to 7 pm in the afternoon. We had a routine evening meeting/debriefing, meal and local entertainment. For 20 days, this was the daily rhythum of our safari.

Each ‘game drive' or session is different than the one before. Animal behavior is random, so anything can happen, at any time. Amboseli is known for it's quantity of elephant herds and we were not disappointed. One large herd of about 40, slowly approached, surrounded and passed by our vehicle, on the way to their morning water hole. Our drivers put us where the action was and photographic opportunities were abundant.

Whether you are using a digital camera, video taping or simply observing with binoculars, Africa will remind you that key action can happen at any time. Aggressive predatory animals may be stalking their prey as you drive upon them. Our drivers were experts at establishing a side view or flanking position for maximum observation and great pictures!

Our twenty-two day journey spanned the width of Kenya and on one afternoon our vehicles caravanned through the beauty and grandeur of five ecosystems. We descended 8,400 feet to the base of the Northern frontier. These roads led to Ethiopia, Somalia and Samburu. The images are beyond description, you simply must come to Africa.

Opportunity to purchase curios (hand made items) are numerous and most of us chose to spend our dollars in the traditional tribal villages of the Maasi and Samburu. Special arrangements are made in order to visit the villages. Upon approach, we were greeted by a representative of the tribe and asked to dismount our vehicles. In the Samburu village, the women, adorned in tribal blue, sang to us as they methodically shuffled down a path.

We were then greeted  by "John" an articulate university educated 23 year old. John explained the dynamics of cooperation in tribal life and why he has returned to become a future leader of his people. We split into small groups, spent time in their huts and then purchased various jewelry, spears, talking sticks etc.....from the Samburu women.

The Maasi people come from land that includes Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. Today, they are farmers, cattle herders and professionals. Many villages lie below Mt. Kilimanjaro. They live a shared existence and value the raising of children and ownership of cattle to be central to their way of life.


‘In 1890, a European disease wiped out over 90% of the Maasi cattle"


In the Maasi Mara we visited a thriving Maasi village. It is believed that the Maasi migrated, along with their Samburu cousins from the Nile river, in the 15th century. They live in modest low level huts. The Maasi believe that all cows on earth belong to the Maasi. A young warrior is expected to participate in a lion kill, however, the practice is being discouraged.

The Maasi who wear traditional red, are great trackers and herders. Unfortunately, in 1890, a European disease dessimated much of the great herds they once had. Today, they struggle to keep their traditional way of life. They are also unusually good leapers. Several of the young warriors leaped for us in a traditional "adumu" or jumping dance.. One can't help but notice how physically fit the Maasi are in person. Most are lean and tall. They have great teeth and are quick to smile. They are the beautiful people.

Some of the youth from our group played soccer with the Maasi children. Most are very good at soccer. Their village ball consisted of sponges wrapped in tape. We gave them our ball to keep. In Kenya, the people are thankful for anything, so lighten your bags and enjoy the feeling of giving.


"Some 15,000 wildebeast  crossed the Mara River for 45 minutes"                                                                                                                                                      

During the months of July and August, the great herds cross the Mara River from Tanzania, by the hundreds of thousands. It is simply one of the greatest events to experience in anyone's lifetime. In great numbers they cross, initially, one lone wildebeast, followed by some 15,000 for 45 minutes! Crocadiles and hippos take the weak, but most make it to the other side of the river and the cycle of life goes on.

In the Mara region, there are many lions. One of the great prides in number, the Bila Shaka Pride, had grown to over 40 in strength. Unfortunately, some of the rogue juvenile males killed the alpha male and the result was two smaller prides. Our guides updated group members on pride dynamics. The lion pride behavior was magnificent to photograph and was a favorite among the group.

We concluded our journey with a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage Trust. The orphanage supports baby elephants whose mother's have been brutally killed for their valuable ivory tusks. Elephants form close-knit lifetime bonds from birth and can live as long as some human beings. Some group members adopted their own baby elephant for a small annual fee. website: rc-h@africaonline.co.ke

From Amboseli to the Maasi Mara our journey must come to an end. For the people we met and the pastel Kenyan sunsets we say asante sana), thank you. We were pleased to be there with you. (Nimie furuhai kua pamoja nawewe).

We thank Vivien Prince for hosting her "As You Like It Safari .com" in her wonderful country. We thank Geoff Sink for his passion and expertise. We hope to see one more bird, one more magnificent lion, meet one more person and see one more sunset. Bless you and goodbye (Heri zote safari njema kwaheri)

Community reminder - On October 14th, Inland Christian Church, in Colton will host it's annual Harambe. Dinner and silent auction will be followed by traditional African crafts and art for display and sale. All funds raised will support Kenyan missionary work and the African Bible School, Harvest Field.. If you have any questions about East African safaris, please ask for me at the Harambe. For more information call (909) 825-7572

Las Vegas, Go To The Venetian

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 LOS ANGELES


By Earl Heath and Rita Long


The Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV
The Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, NV
It's a place of beauty, it dazzles with excitement, it's the place to shop to eat and it provides you with a great escape. The place is the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino that is located on the Strip in Las Vegas.

While in Las Vegas you can take care of your health and fitness at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian. Here you can find facilities that include massage, skin care and a fitness center. They also cover health and wellness along with providing a beauty salon.

For entertainment you can see Phantom of the Opera, the Blue Man Group or visit the Tao Nightclub.

The Venetian provides a family array of shops. For women, there's Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Burberry. For men, there's The Walking Company, Gandini and Kenneth Cole. For children you will find David & Goliath and Kids Karnivale. You will also find jewelry, gifts and specialty shops.

To satisfy your appetite you can sit down and enjoy Canaletto, Zeffirino or Tsunami Asian Grill. If you want to get it to go, there's the Panda Express, Towers Deli and Nathan's.

As you can see, The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino is the Strip's most complete all-suite resort and convention destination.

In planning your trip to Vegas, be sure to book with Southwest Airlines. Celebrating their 35th year, they will get you there and be on time.

Awesome service can be provided by Jorja, a fifteen year veteran of SWA, and Cheree who makes the greatest coffee at 30,000 feet. "We work for the greatest airline around," said Cheree.

SWA is an overall favorite to 62 cities in America.


R&B Singer Sammie A Pleasant Surprise

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RIVERSIDE

By Jequetta Bellard and Kristan Culbert

Image
Photo by Amadi J. Phillips - Sammie
When R & B singer Sammie was 12-years-old, his voice was already smoother than some of the most seasoned professionals. Now, at 18-years-old, his voice makes you feel as if you have been wrapped in the finest of silks.  Apart from being kind and intelligent, Sammie is musically gifted.

After his debut album, From the Bottom to the Top (Capitol Records), went platinum in 2000, Sammie decided to take a break from the stage.

He says, "It was one of the best decisions I have ever made." Having a break from the limelight allowed Sammie the ability to lead a normal teenage life. He joined the choir, played basketball, and was even crowned Homecoming King. After graduating this past June, the Miami native is re-entering the music scene and is prepared to create a fresh recording career.

His new CD -- Sammie will be released on Oct. 3rd by Dallas Austin's Rowdy Records. Its first single "You Should Be My Girl" which features Sean Paul of the Young Bloodz is sure to go platinum. Sammie recently performed a few dates on the Russ Parr Back to School Bus Tour.  It started in Fayetteville, NC on Monday, August 14th, and ended in Washington, DC, on Thursday, August 17th. He was also in Los Angeles last week and is currently on the road, continuing his summer tour.  While on tour, Sammie will promote his new CD, which is a flawless combination of soulful ballads, hip-hop and medium tempo tracks.

The 58th PrimeTime Emmy Awards

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LOS ANGELES
 

By Lea Michelle Cash


Image
Photo by Cash - Andre Braugher wins an Emmy in the category of "Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or Movie” for his role as Nick Atwater in "Thief" on the FX Network.
The 58th Primetime Emmy Awards was held recently at the legendary Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.  I always look forward to going to this special affair.   Being able to meet and greet the outstanding professionals whose work is presented on television, (in front of and behind the camera) night after night, while they stroll down the red carpet-or give you a few moments of their time backstage in the press area is a welcomed opportunity because this is the most important night in television.

This year I had high hopes for award winning Black actresses Alfre Woodard and Chandra Wilson.  Woodard received two Emmy nominations:  The Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her portrayal of Betty Applegate in ABC's Desperate Housewives and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries  or a Movie for her portrayal as Mrs. Brown in "The Water is Wide," A Hallmark Presentation on CBS.   However, in those two categories, Megan Mullally, took the first award for her portrayal as Karen on NBC's Will and Grace.  Kelly MacDonald took the other for her portrayal as Gina in HBO's "The Girl in the Café."  

Wilson received the Outstanding Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of Dr. Bailey on ABC's hit show "Grey's Anatomy." Blythe Danner won that award for her portrayal as Izzy Huffstodt in Showtime's "Huff" in that category.  

Image
Photo by Cash - Jim Pickens (Grey's Anatomy) and his lovely wife waiting to stroll down red carpet.
Tears and heart felt dialogue was experienced on stage and back stage when tributes were paid to the late Aaron Spelling who died in June.  Joan Collins (Dynasty) Heather Locklear (Melrose Place) and Stephen Collins (7th Heaven) delivered moving tributes. Time seemed to have stopped when the original Charlie Angels, Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith graced the stage and delivered tributes in honor of Spelling.

But the night belonged to legendary musical producer, host and starmaker Dick Clark.  He received a long standing ovation even from the press corp backstage.  Clark, who suffered a stroke in June 2004, made an appearance on last year's New Years' Rockin Eve but hadn't made another public appearance until now.  His speech was slightly slurred but he spoke from the heart as he teared up reminding everyone how happy he was to live out his dream.   American Idol's Simon Cowell delivered Clark's introduction and Barry Manilow delivered a musical performance.

Jeremy Pivens, who won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series seemed to be another underdog favorite. He won for his portrayal as Ari Gold on "Entourage"

The television programs that took top honors for the night were: The Office-Outstanding Comedy Series, NBC; 24-Outstanding Drama Series, FOX; Elizabeth I-Outstanding Miniseries, HBO.

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